OK, here's Part Two, as promised.
When I began chatting on the net, Anthony and I had been separated for awhile, but we weren't yet divorced. I wasn't ready to date, so chatting on the net, in the evenings, after the boys were asleep, seemed a safe and harmless way to have some contact with other adults. I always went to the same adult chat room. I'd made quite a few friends there, and there was always someone new trying to figure out what was going on, so I was usually completely engaged by just staying in the main room. Sometimes I had private conversations, but the group in the main room was lively and fun, and that's where the action seemed to be. I noticed that sometimes, although friends' names would show up in the room, those friends would be strangely silent, not participating in the dialogue. I just thought they were away from their computers and had forgotten to click, "I'm away from my computer". (Yes, I still am that gullible.)
It's hard to explain what a talented, funny group of people had found their way to that chat room for a couple of months that fall. Everyone had a role, and you'd come in and be greeted enthusiastically, and jump right in. It's what I imagine it must be like being part of a team writing a sit com. I've never encountered anything remotely similar again.
However, even after being a regular for several weeks, I remained blissfully unaware of the meaning of "Adult Chat Room", until one night, when I was chatting with G, and he typed, "You know, there are pictures on this site of some of the people in this room."
"Really?" I typed back. "Wow, I'd love to see pics of some of the people we chat with!"
He told me how to access the pics.
I’d never in my life seen pics like that, and to think they were on the internet, for anyone to see...I couldn’t believe it. I also couldn’t tear myself away...
After about half an hour, G private messaged me. "What do you think?" he typed, and I knew he was laughing, because I knew he’d gotten a kick out of shocking me. "You are SO bad!" I typed. "Well, you already knew that, though," he typed, and I knew he was still laughing.
Because it was an adult chat room, there were many times when I'd been in the room that I'd been pm’d (private messaged) by guys asking me if I wanted to have cybersex. I'd always said no, but the truth was, I had no idea what I was turning down because I didn't have any idea what cybersex was. It seemed like one of those things that I should have already known, and accordingly, I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to explain it. I couldn't even bring myself to ask G about it; I knew he'd tease me.
Sooooooo...one Friday night when I was home alone, chatting and listening to Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, and a very articulate guy who was a stranger to the room pm'd me and asked me if I wanted to have cybersex with him, I asked him outright: What is that, exactly?
What a concept. Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of safe sex, for sure, but it seemed like it would be more a guy thing than my thing. Call me old fashioned, but I was pretty sure I still preferred to know and like anyone before I’d even consider having sex with him, and what’s more, I was pretty sure I still preferred to be physically in the room together...able to literally reach out and touch each other...and yet...perhaps I was hopelessly behind the times...and even if I weren’t...frankly, it had been a while, and there was no one even on the horizon for me to...um...interact with, so to speak...soooooo...
Mr. Articulate went on to explain that he was in his 20's, and that he was a student working on an MFA in writing at one of New York’s finer institutions of higher learning. Of course, it being the internet, that could have been (and probably was) a lie. He could have been a woman; he could have been a plumber and/or serial killer, for all I knew, but he seemed bright and was definitely articulate...the perfect Plastic Fantastic Lover, I thought. The boys were out for the evening, so I was home alone, with no danger of being interrupted...suddenly feeling adventuresome, I said OK.
Sitting up straight in front of the keyboard, my imagination kicked into high gear as I tried to imagine his opening foray...total fantasy time! I couldn’t help but think of one way I might approach this little exercise: I’m standing backstage at a packed theatre. On stage, a performance has just begun. Although there are actors in front of the curtain and technicians behind it, no one notices me, because I’m standing in the shadows, off to the side of stage right, alone and, for all practical purposes, invisible. I’m so close to the heavy stage curtain that if I lean forward ever so slightly, the soft silk lining brushes against my face, a not unpleasant sensation. I brush my face against it, and as I do, I move my right hand slightly, grasping the edge of the curtain, and crushing the combination of silk and soft, thick velvet into the palm of my hand. Suddenly, I feel you standing behind me, so close that I can feel your breath, warm on the nape of my neck, and my heart begins to pound as you roughly slip your hand beneath my...
Ah, but that was my cybersex fantasy, not his. I sat up a little straighter, and stared at the monitor screen, eager to see what words Mr. Articulate would choose for his first move.
"What are you wearing?" he typed.
Oh! Hmmmmmmmm. After my own imaginative flight of fancy, I was expecting something a little more articulate and creative than that. But I was new to this, what did I know? I'd just come from the gym, so I answered honestly. I typed, "I'm wearing a grey leotard and grey leggings...", then I hit "send", and waited eagerly for his response.
He typed, "Mmmmmmmmm, you look great, OK, I'm kissing you, ohhhhhhh, you feel soooo good...mmmmmmmmmmm, I’m kissing your neck...mmmmm...I'm removing your leotard..."
He stopped typing abruptly, which was fine with me, because his words were having absolutely no effect on me, no doubt at least in part because my brain was saying, "He’s kidding, right? What does he mean, I look great? He has no idea what I look like..." etc., etc. Not exactly the proper frame of mind for cyber sex, but my frame of mind, nevertheless.
I waited. In a few moments, he began typing again, and I read the following: "Errrrrr...um....OK, I’m sorta stuck here. A grey leotard and leggings, I can visualize that, ‘cause I see women in those things at the gym all the time, and I have to admit, I think they’re very hot, but...I also have to admit, I've never actually removed one of those things...they fit so tight and they don’t appear to have any seams or zippers or anything...I don't have a clue how you women get into 'em, and I can't even begin to imagine how you get out of 'em...you're gonna have to help me out here a bit."
Suddenly I felt like Mrs. Robinson seducing Benjamin...and I couldn't help it...I began to laugh.
I typed, "Hey there, I’m sorry, but I just can’t do this..." Then I signed out of the room for the evening and turned off my computer.
I poured myself a glass of wine, and curled up, alone but content, with a book, as Gracie Slick continued to belt it out in the background: Don't you want somebody to love, don't you need somebody to love, wouldn't you love somebody to love, you'd better find somebody to love...